Celebrated One at a Time While Happening All at Once: Pride, PTSD and Our Approach to Awareness
I’ve been trying to finger paint every day since June started, either right when I wake up or as the last thing I do before I go to bed. Occasionally both.
I’ve been reflecting on those two times of day as significant for how our brains make neural connections that outpace other times of day, and the role that creative rituals can play in our wellbeing and retention of information, especially from our inner life and dreams.
Importantly, June is Pride month.
A lot of commentary has pointed to the origins of pride, and the groundbreaking roles that trans activists and sex workers played in producing the vision and momentum.
Rightfully celebrations of Pride are wrestling with how that initial riot against police brutality is honored in what we think of as Pride now. What has changed in 50 years, has white supremacy, violence against trans folks, and erasure of class and race privilege been addressed? Has “Capitalistic Pride” absconded notions of Queer Liberation, as one meme and several op eds keep stating.
In the wake of a strengthening attack of abortion and reproductive justice, the elevation of violence on LGBTQ folks is being normalized, and marginalized in what we think of as body terrorism and body autonomy.
In conversations about police brutality, anti-Blackness, racism, Islamophobia, mental health, addiction, suicide, body positivity, parenting, healthy relationships, nationalism, immigration, homelessness, sexual violence, sex work, it is still too easy to fail to make our politics queer. It is still too easy to erase the contributions and leadership of LGBTQ activists and scholars, and the growing death count and incarceration count of folks we have not kept safe.
And yet, the same month that commemorates Pride is also National PTSD Awareness month. Similarly, depictions of PTSD struggle to tell a holistic narrative of what being trauma informed implies for how we organize society, and narrows the ever-broadening root causes of chronic disruption that trauma creates. Firstly, whether or not this awareness encompasses complex PTSD, and connected, a whole host of traumas that are less episodic, and more foundational in shaping how our brains and bodies function starting in childhood.
It’s hard to imagine celebrating Pride in the current social context and leaving trauma out. It’s hard to draw attention to trauma in a template that still centers the least marginalized. It’s hard to negate that visibility and community affiliation are a form of resistance to erasure and frequent traumatization.
This blog is brief, because I have nothing educational to say, but simply uplift that the conversation we’re having on small stages is one we need to be seeing as redundant on all of our stages.
What are we ignoring and leaving out?
Whose contributions have been distorted?
Where are we trying to get to, and who or what are we following?
Can awareness continue to be built inauthentically, which is to say as a vacuum?
Can we address power dynamics in our representation?
Can be infuse humility, self-correction, and imagination into a goal of community care?
Can we have a bias for action and a praxis of depth?
Can we invest in narratives that don’t center ourselves?
Can we uplift the names and experiences that have been the momentum and vision?
Can we participate in community building from a willingness to be transformed?
Can we creating holding environments where self-work can happen within community?
Can we look at origin stories and bring forward the lessons that are still left out, in our self-work, in our collective work, in our frameworks, and in the leadership that is trying to steer our imagination with conscience.
To all of my queer siblings, may we relate to your liberation in our behavior more visibly.
And to all of my siblings living with trauma, may healing be considered a step in liberation.